BLM California News.bytes 
News.bytes Extra, issue 566

National Monument Volunteers "Lead the Way"

The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, in partnership with the Friends of the Desert Mountains, accomplished much with volunteers during this past federal Fiscal Year.  During that period more than 75 volunteers contributed 7,015 total hours worked.  Forty of those volunteers and their families  attended the January 26, 2013 volunteer appreciation event held at the National Monument Visitor Center.  This event is held annually to celebrate and recognize the “Monumental” effort of our volunteers who “Lead the Way” as an example for volunteers everywhere who want to get things done. (story continues below)

two volunteers hold award plaques

Volunteer Ada Nuckels’ efforts were phenomenal last year.  Ada was only 8 hours short of 1000 to win the “Peak Performer Award.” Ada was also voted by all the other volunteers to receive the National Monument “Volunteer of the Year Award.”  Ben Rooney, age 14, was voted “Youth Volunteer of the Year” for a second year in a row.  Ben contributed a staggering 547 hours last year (and yes, Ben did attend school during that period and even managed to improve his grades at the same time).  Way to go, Ben Rooney!  Ada, Ben, and many other volunteers contribute extensively to programs such as visitor services, Junior Trail Guides, “Weed Warriors” invasive species removal projects, and the National Public Lands Day and National Monument Wildflower Festival events.

a group at a podium
Volunteer Appreciation Day event Chair and Friends of the Desert Mountains Executive Director John Purcell, at the podium, gave the welcome and introduced Board President Gary Johnson, US Forest Service District Ranger Laurie Rosenthal (center facing), BLM Park Ranger Emily Hoerner (far left) and US Forest Service Natural Resource Specialist Danielle Ortiz (far right).  Laurie will be retiring soon, while Emily and Danielle will be moving on to other careers.  All National Monument Visitor Center supporters, staff and volunteers will miss them sincerely.

volunteers sit at an outdoor table
Everyone at the Volunteer Appreciation and Awards ceremonies were treated to a hearty luncheon.  Volunteer George Raymond, seated on the far right at the end of the foreground table, is one of our most deserving and dedicated volunteers.  Rich Jarvinen, facing, in the bright red jacket, has been an invaluable liaison between the local area hike clubs and the Coachella Valley network of resource entities, including the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.

another group of volunteers poses for a photo
Many of the Monument’s 100-Hour Volunteer Award recipients (22 in all) were present, including Bill Baker (front row, center) who was a BLM National Volunteer Award winner last spring.  In the photo are (from left to right):  Nancy Gilmore, Steve Fuchs, Colin Barrows, Marga Baker, Mary Baker, Bill Baker, Sharen Metz-Langdon, Ben Rooney, Ada Nuckels, George Raymond, Laurie Rosenthal, John Purcell and Ed Smith.

a group of volunteers who have helped research on the western yellow bat, poses in front of a palm tree
Friends staffers Tammy Martin (front row, far left) and John Purcell (back row, far right), and volunteers for the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, have been very active assisting Danielle Ortiz (front row center in the dark glasses), US Forest Service Natural Resource Specialist, in a special project.  They conducted research on bats throughout the Colorado Desert, visiting 42 different palm oases throughout the Colorado Desert region to learn about the roosting preferences of the western yellow bat (Lasiurus xanthinus). Little is known about the yellow bat, which is a California Species of Concern.  Several volunteers from the “Yellow Bat Crew” were present at the awards luncheon.  The volunteers in the above photo, front row, left to right, are:  Suzanne Jarvinen, Ada Nuckels, Georgia Decker, Lynn Rooney, and Alfred Ortiz (Danielle’s dad); and second row, left to right:  Rich Jarvinen, Ben Rooney, Colin Barrows, and George Raymond.

- Steven D. Harris, Outdoor Recreation Planner, Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, BLM Palm Springs - South Coast Field Office  (February 2013)

BLM California News.bytes, issue 566 -- To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: mailto:Join-Newsbytes@List.ca.blm.gov OR visit our News.bytes subscription page.